This is an entry that I had hoped to finish for music week. Unfortunately with school winding down and assignments piling up I wasn’t able to finish it in time. I’m sure many members of the graduating class can relate to, though that is a topic for another blog entry entirely.
Sometime this past fall I went to an open planning meeting for Smash it Dead Fest, a punk music festival that took place March 23-25 of this year in Allston and Cambridge. Smash it Dead Fest’s aim is to “smash” rape culture by raising awareness of sexual assault within the do-it-yourself/punk community while providing the community with a weekend of fun shows and workshops. All the funds raised by the festival were donated to the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC). This was the festival’s second time happening and it was my first time being involved in the planning process. It was also my first experience working collectively in a group for something that wasn’t being “assigned” in school or at work.
The weekend featured many female-fronted bands from all over the country. Some of my favorites from the weekend include Nona, Curmudgeon, Surrender, Aye Nako, and Sick Fix. Additionally several workshops happened over the weekend on different topics hosted by different groups and people. The first workshop was on supporting survivors of sexual assault, which was led by BARCC. The second workshop was on male privilege and the third was on consent. The workshops happened in the same space as the shows, which made the workshops a main focus while reminding attendees that these things are relevant to things that happen at concerts and surrounding show culture.
Sometimes the planning process was stressful and tiring; smashing rape culture is no easy task and sometimes requires a proverbial hammer that is too heavy for one person to bear alone. Luckily I did not have to work alone, and had a group of friends who supported each other throughout the process. It’s essential to have people around who can support each other when stress levels get high and determination wavers. Working together with the collective was a truly wonderful experience and I feel like my involvement with this festival and this group of people has helped me grow as a person. Music has always been a big part of my life and it was wonderful to have to opportunity to raise awareness about sexual assault and use music as the medium for the message. In the end we raised over $4,300 for BARCC which makes me so proud of everyone who made the event possible by attending, playing or planning the festival. A music festival that addresses and acknowledges rape culture and sexual assault seems important and relevant at a time when these issues are making headlines all over the nation and even here at Boston University. At Boston University one does not have to look far to see that these injustices happen every day and more people need to speak up against these injustices so that rape culture on sports teams ends, people have an actual rape crisis center to call on campus to assist in support when dealing with sexual assault, and so that rape jokes cease to exist.
Sometimes when the stress of my impending graduation gets me down I think back to Smash it Dead Fest and remember that it is possible to use your passion to be productive and do some good in the world. I hope that everyone takes some time to think about what their passion is and finds a way to make the world a better place because of it.
To find out more about Smash it Dead Fest and the bands the played the festival please check out the website.
Photos © Ali Donohue 2012